World Cities Summit 2010 Focuses on Sustainable Cities

1 July 2010:  The World Cities Summit 2010, organized by the Centre for Liveable Cities (CLC), took place in Singapore from 29 June-1 July 2010, under the theme "Liveable and Sustainable Cities for the Future."

The Summit focused on the challenges related to urban planning, infrastructure financing, public housing, waste management, urban biodiversity and climate change. Participants discussed how to mitigate risks and build inclusive and harmonious cities. Partners of the Summit included the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP). The Summit attracted 25 ministers, as well as 45 mayors and governors from 20 countries, including China and Australia.

At the opening ceremony, Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT Executive Director, acknowledged that 227 million people have moved out of slum conditions since 2000, but warned against the challenges posed by rapid urbanization, the financial crisis and climate change. She noted that vulnerable cities will need to prepare their infrastructure for the impacts of climate change, adding that one meter sea level rise will threaten major cities in Asia, including Mumbai, Kolkata, Shanghai, Osaka-Kobe and Tokyo. She argued for better financing capacity of municipalities to provide for adequate infrastructure in many developing countries and encouraging access to innovative urban infrastructure financing schemes.

On 30 June,  the World Cities Summit (WCS) Mayors' Forum was held. The Forum was attended by over 40 mayors and governors, and aimed to provide a strategic platform for mayors to discuss challenges faced by cities, share lessons learned, and deliberate possible joint solutions. The forum addressed leadership and governance in turbulent times, eco-friendly and liveable communities, and promoting communities of best practices among cities.

During the Summit, the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize was awarded to the Bilbao City Hall, Spain, in recognition of its commitment towards a holistic approach to sustainable urban transformation. The main organizer of the Summit, the CLC, is expected to partner with the World Bank, UN-HABITAT and the ADB to develop the WCS Mayors' Forum into a global network that promotes best practices and peer-to-peer learning among cities to support urban sustainability. [UN-HABITAT Press Release] [World Cities Summit Website]